tv At This Hour With Berman and Michaela CNN July 18, 2014 8:00am-9:01am PDT
call today for a low price on speeds up to 150mbps. and find out more about our two-year price guarantee. comcast business. built for business. hello, everyone. i'm john berman. michaela pereira is off today. a hectic morning with two major stories breaking at this hour, both involving conflict with innocent civilians paying with their lives. israel raising the stakes sending tanks into gaza suggesting it will widen its boots on the ground with hamas. the other story, major condemnation, the downing of a
passenger jet in ukraine. at least 300 people from ten nations killed. president obama will be speaking about this at this hour. you can see this live at 11:30 eastern time. who shot down malaysian flight 17 out of the sky, why did they do it and will they be held accountable? these are all questions we will address at this hour. these are the latest details cnn has learn from our sources all around the globe. u.s. intelligence officials concluding that pro russian rebels likely fired the missile that brought this plane down. just a short time ago, the u.s. ambassador to the united nations samantha powers delivered a fascinating speech to the entire floor saying the u.s. cannot rule out these rebels received assistance from knowledgeable russian personnel.
ukrainian officials saying 181 of the 298 bodies have been recovered so far. accusing russia of covering up evidence of its role in this case. the ntsb and the fbi say they plan to send investigators to ukraine to try to get some answers. an international team of experts reportedly has arrived at the site. one piece of evidence could be key. a phone call purportedly between pro russian militants moments after the plane was shot down. it was interaccepted and released by ukraine secret service. >> we have so many questions, so many developments this morning, we are all over them.
our chris cuomo is in ukraine. michelle kosinski text white house. michelle, i want to start with you at the white house because in less than 30 minutes we're expecting the president to deliver a statement on this situation in ukraine. tensions so high between these two nations right now, the united states and russia, what do you expect the president to say? >> the white house specifically now isn't giving any guidance on what the specifics will be or even what the general -- gen ral its will be leading up to this speech which will happen very soon. there are three categories that we want to know about. the questions that have lingered are what about americans on board, what do we know about that. we know the question has been raised that there could have been people on that plane not traveling on an american passport but they could have held dual citizenship and that means they could even live within the united states. we're hoping the president will shed sml light on that. what will be the u.s.
involvement? we already know that the ukrainians have specifically asked for assistance. the u.s. has offered that. ukrainians would love to see the ntsb there, foreign minister said that specifically in an interview just this morning. so what will we send, what kind of teams of people, will it be the ntsb, fbi, what is the time frame of that? we're really looking for some guidance on what the u.s. can do, especially in light of the fact that this area, and this site is not controlled by the ukrainian government, even though it's within their territory. i mean, this incident has made it really clear how little control they have in certain of these areas, because apparently the separatists that controlled this site within donetsk are not even letting ukrainian officials in at this point. as you mentioned, those international monitors apparently are in the area but we're waiting to see if they get any access. also, you know, what is the relationship? we know basically that this is going to further deteriorate the
u.s. and russian relationship and u.s. and russia do coordinate on a number of important international issues right now, like iran and like syria. well, what is this going to do? i mean, it's clear that even if this was as it appears to be according to u.s. officials a shoot down by separatists, the u.s. has said repeatedly for months now that they believe that these separatists are significantly controlled by russia, so inestibleably, there seems to be going to be some russian responsibility here that's going to have to be acted upon by the international community. >> how far will the president go in accusing the russians of complicity here? we'll hear the president's statement. it is a crucial statement in about 25 minutes. i want to bring in jim scuitto. just a few minutes ago, we heard
samantha powers lay out a prosecutorial case explaining why the u.s. believes russia was responsible and why it is so crucial that investigators can get access to the site and russia not get in the way of that. >> no question. i spoke to a yawn kran -- ukrainian official who is accusing russia of a cover up. they have evidence that this buk surface-to-air missile system was moved across the border from ukraine into russia overnight, in effect to take the evidence away, ukrainian officials say. they also say that the black boxes from the plane, they believe, were taken across the border from ukraine to russia by pro russian separatists. in addition, still ukrainian authorities are being denied access to the crash scene. so ukrainian officials accusing a cover up under way with
russian involved. the big question now is what is the hard evidence that russia was involved? u.s. officials have said for weeks now that russia is backing up, arming, providing intelligence support to the rebels. you now have the u.s. ambassador to the u.n. samantha power saying on the floor of the u.n. that there is a possibility that russian separatists wouldn't have the skill to operate this missile system on their own. that they would need russian helped to do it. that's an alarming charge because that takes it a step further. it's not just that russia is indirectly responsible for this by aiding and abetting the rebels and providing the circumstances for the rebels to control so much territory in eastern ukraine but the accusation of direct russian involvement in firing the missile that took down the plane, that is a dramatic accusation. we're not there yet but u.s. officials saying they are looking into that that clearly
with samantha power's comments. >> a bold statement to be sure. we just did get a piece of new information in. there have been a lot of questions about whether americans were on board this flight, mh-17. this is what we now know. that no passengers checked in using u.s. passports. no passengers checked in using u.s. passports. the united states now looking further into that. that a very many just coming in at this moment. i want to bring in richard quest right now our aviation expert. we heard that this investigation may be hampered by the russians. the military evidence might be obscured, hidden, moved in fact to russia. what about the scene of the crash itself, the crime scene, the investigation scene that we now believe is under control of
the pro russian rebels? >> this is a mess. in any crash situation, you secure the area, you get the experts in. they comb through the debris. they find the wreckage they need to look at to find out what happened. they recover the black boxes and you do it in an extremely meticulous way. here you have well-meaning volunteers and amateurs walking all over the site. you have a contamination of what's there. the crucial piece of fuselage may be moved. it may be inadvertent. we need to have a separatist agreement to have a cease fire so that people can get in there, the investigators can start doing their job. >> you bring up a great point. by all accounts, there are people who mean to do good, who are trying to help with the
situation. however, there are impartial, international investigators now on sight as well as perhaps ntsb officials headed there, these are the type of people who need to get in. >> not only that. they need to get in, look at the evidence so they can look at it forensically in laboratories and the ukrainian government is the legitimate authority to host this investigation. i'm not saying whether they should or shouldn't. they are the legitimate ones under the treaty. >> obviously getting to that site and seeing it will be crucial not just for investigators, but also our reporters. chris cuomo on the way to that site right now. chris joins me on phone on the long drive to eastern ukraine. what have you seen so far? >> i've got to tell you it's a tale of two realities. in and around kiev, there's definitely tension. people are worried what comes
next. this was emboldened to the separatists. here in kiev, don't use the word separatists. don't do that. these people are militants, terrorists. this is a dangerous mess. you've spent a lot of time in war zones, that's what the eastern part of ukraine is right now. we've ignored it because of other things that have taken up u.s. media attention but it's very hot right now and there is no collective agreement among the militants there. so the idea that they would let anyone, let alone ukraine authorities come in and republican an investigation -- run an investigation is a very poor-based conclusion. we're heading there right now. put it this way, this morning, the foreign minister, you remember i was interviewing him when you were anchoring new day, he said, this is great to talk to you, you gave us great information.
maybe you want to come with our people when we send them out there. he later then said, you know what, that may not be the best idea. it is not safe for ukraine authorities or military there. they are not in control of the area. so we're going to have to feel our way through as we get further east. there's no question the crime scene is contaminated. there are horrible and morbid stories and rumors coming out of what's being done at that scene. there's no question it's not going to be a controlled site and that has to be kept in mind. this is an active violent environment. not just about an accident or somebody shooting down an airplane. it's someone shooting down an airplane in the midst of real ongoing conflict. >> and finding the truth might not be safe. that is so key so what you are saying. chris cuomo on the ground heading to this crash site in eastern ukraine. keep us up dated on your progress and keep safe. >> everything we've been talking about right now, the shooting down of mh-17 flight is a major
international event with major consequences. it is not the only event taking place in the world right now. we're going to go now to israel. israeli ground troops, tanks have invaded into gaza. there are boots on the ground now in gaza. >> the israeli operation is continuing and the prime minister himself, benjamin netanyahu says it will expand. the initial goal is to go after those tunnels, tunnels that have been built over the past several years by hamas, tunnels that go from gaza into israel. the slses israelis of have evidence of those tunnels. they shown pictures of those tunnels and they have video of 15 hamas terrorists emerging from them at a can i -- kibutz.
they can't destroy those tunnels by air alone. that's why thousands of troops have gone in with tanks and carriers. the other objectives, going after p hamas's stockpiles of rockets and missiles. more than a thousand have been launched into israel over the past ten days or so, but israeli intelligence believes they have about 10,000 or so. they are going to try to find and destroy as many as they possibly can. and the thiferred objective is to go avenue military -- after other military targets. some kind of cease fire will come into play. their goal is not to stay in gaza, not to reoccupy gaza. they withdraw from gaza back in 2005. it's to destroy these military capabilities of hamas and then get out. >> all right. wolf blitzer for us in
jerusalem. this operation in gaza ongoing with the possibility very much of intensifying. wolf will stay on it for us. coming up next, president obama will deliver a statement on the situation in ukraine. we will bring that to you live the minute it happens. plus with russia and ukraine now exchanging blame, the folk has shifted to vladimir putin. how much is he to blame? we'll speak to a u.s. senator calling for a much tougher u.s. response to russia. that's coming up. d everybody knows that. well, did you know words really can hurt you? what...? jesse don't go! jesse...no! i'm sorry daisy, but i'm a loner. and a loner gotta be alone. heee yawww! geico. fifteen minutes could save you fifteen percent or more. jesse?
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. welcome back, we're continuing our breaking news coverage of the shooting down of mh-17. you are looking at a live picture at the united nations. the russian ambassador to the united nations is delivering a statement, perhaps an explanation of the russian role involvement or noninvolvement in the shooting down of this plane. let's try to listen to what he has to say. >>translator: we think it would be right to create an international commission.
mr. president, any normal person i'm sure first and foremost a question would arise. why did the ukrainian aviation dispatcher send a passenger flight to an area of military clashes, an area which was being used for carrying out strikes against civilian parties amongst other and where there were anti aircraft systems working, in an airspace, it's the responsibility of that state, in line with international standards on the territory where the flight is being carried out, the state must provide aviation information necessary for ensuring the security of aviati aviation. international law plans for the possibility of the timely closure by the state of areas that are dangerous for flights. it would seem that there would
need to be investigation but also to the extent the ukrainian authorities carried out their obligations and did everything necessary to ensure that the military campaign of kiev would prevent disasters from occurring. today, kiev declared a full closure of the airspace in the conducting of the so-called anti terrorism by the region. >> you've been listening to the russian ambassador to the united nations regarding the shooting down of mh-17. at least the part we heard right there, he wasn't talking about who may have shot the plane down or why. what he was talking about was the idea that ukrainian air traffic control should never have let that plane fly over that area because it was a conflict zone. interesting that he chose to focus on that and not the culpability for actually shooting the plane down. i want to bring in republican
senator mark kirk from illinois. he was one of first to call for a tough response over the crisis in ukraine. as you know, in a couple of minutes, president obama will be delivering a response from the white house on this situation in ukraine and the plane that was shot down. what do you want to hear from the president? >> i want to hear that the department of justice will bring one hell wrongful death suit against trussia with a weapons system that is operated by russian forces. >> do you blame vladimir putin? >> it appears the system is so complicated that it would need a
back-up from russian armed forces. it would mean that russia is directly responsible for the death of 300 people. >> what you are suggesting is that this buk missile system is so complicated that they can't rule out the possibility that russian advisers somehow assisted these pro russian rebels in firing this at this malaysian aircraft, this commercial aircraft. you say you want a wrongful death suit then against the perpetrators then, if you think vladimir putin -- is a lawsuit snuff? >> my guess is that luke oil has a number of assets in the united states. they should always realize tens of millions of dollars will be lost for their international assets because of actions like this and get control of their armed forces, to make sure there's effective command and
control. i would have another suggestion that there is a system called d dikrkum which would could be a heat seeking system. it called about $2 medical each -- million each to blind a guided system. spoofing the system would be not possible for dirkum. >> senator mark kirk calling for a stiffer position on sanctions as well as a wrongful death suit against the perpetrators. thank you so much for being with us. i want to bring in michael o'handlin now. it's been a remarkable 24 hours in the world of international relations.
we heard from samantha powers that we can't rule out russian responsibility. what does this do? how does this complicate this very tense relationship between the united states and russia? >> well, it's a moment where i think in this terrible tragedy, in this very sad loss of life, we need to try to find an opportunity to bring greater pressure on vladimir putin because as you know he's been able to sort of fool some people. he's been able to make it appear that he's not being as aggressive as he was earlier this year in regard to crimea, and doing things just barely under the table. our intelligence has gradually figured out what he's been up to, but he has played the game and dialed it to the point where he can create some havoc in eastern ukraine without doing something over the threshold
that's going to retalings in particular. the obama administration had decided to increase sanctions against russia. now we have a moment to try to persuade our allies and it's not so much in retribution for this terrible act and some of it is appropriate, but it's more looking forward to make sure there's deterrence so this doesn't get even worse, the conflict in ukraine doesn't get even worse. i think we have to force vladimir putin's hand to make a choice. which does he want? does he want his economy to function and leave ukraine alone? >> more than half the passengers of that flight were dutch. a key member of nato. you would think this would put russia in a corner right now. you would see ain't crease in pressure in europe, these key economic powers that had been hesitant to pressure russia
directly to stop their actions in ukraine. >> that's right. i can't imagine even if there was some russian complicity in this that it was intentional, but it doesn't really matter. russia is playing a brutal game that it shouldn't be involved in and now is the moment to try to get them to stop and bring the full brunt of possible large scale western sanctions to bear as a threat. >> thank you so much for being with us. as it's been a hectic morning here at cnn covering major stories developing all around the world. i'm joined now by cnn jake tapper, host of qoes the lead. it strikes me that 48 hours ago, we were talking about the immigration crisis at the worder. that was overwhelming all the discussion in washington. 30 hours ago we were talking about a new round of sanctions from the u.s. against vladimir putin in russia. so many balls in the air, so many crises for this white house
to manage at once. what do you expect to hear from the president and how will the white house deal with all of this at once? >> you didn't even mention the crisis unfolding in gaza right now with the israeli defense force launching a ground invasion of that country. i expect president obama to be talking about not only offering condolences but calling for a way to internationalize the wreckage site. calling for those who control the ground in eastern ukraine, the pro russian separatists, to allow teams from the united nations, teams from osce, the organization for security and cooperation in europe on to the grounds to make sure that there is a full and thorough investigation, that no materials are removed from the site, and this is something of a challenge. it's throwing the gauntlet to these separatists and in a way to putin himself, john, because if these separatists do not allow this, the belief by the
obama administration, according to officials with whom i've spoken, is that will be self-incriminating, the idea that they won't let international inspectors on to the site. so that's what i expect, john. >> it is interesting, jake, that so far and we're about 24 hours now into this crisis, the white house and the president himself has been somewhat reserved in its direct criticism of vladimir putin. obviously, u.s. intelligence officials and security officials raising a lot of questions saying what they suspect, that it was pro russian rebels, but you haven't seen the scathing language yet from the president. >> that's true. although, the statement that the white house put out last night did put what happened, did put this tragedy within the greater context of russia fueling this separatist movement. we're going to devote our global team of analysts and reporters to getting all the latest details and answers about the shooting down of the malaysian airlines jet over ukraine.
we have michelle kosinski at the white house, wolf blitzer in jersey. let's go right to michelle at the white house. what are you expecting the president to say? >> i don't think it's going to be anything specific at this point. the white house isn't giving a lot of guidance ahead of this address which we now understand is going to be delayed, possibly by about a half hour. we're looking at about a noontime for this presidential address. but there are a couple of categories that we want to hear about, there hasn't been clarity on up to this point as these events have been developing. first of all, were there americans on that flight or not? hopefully there will be sml guidance from the white house, if they have been able to gather that? up until thou they have been trying to figure that out themselves. we know that people have not checked into that flight with american passports. the question is if there were people of dual citizenship, were there in fact americans on that flight who just didn't use their american passports. also, what will the u.s. do is a
big question? we've mentioned the ntsb, the fbi, u.s. intelligence as possibilities, and the president pledged to ukraine, u.s. experts that would give all possible assistance immediately. we know that ukraine accepted it and in fact, this morning, ukraine was saying that they hoped to see the ntsb there soon because of their expertise in these matters. so maybe a timeline of what exactly the u.s. could do, but as we've been saying since this area of the crash site is now seeming to be fully in control of the separatists, even though it's within ukraine's territory, it's unclear whether they would allow these international observers that are already there or u.s. investigators for that matter on to that site. i mean, the real worry has been how much has that scene already been moved? have the block boxes been taken away? that's something that's being discussed all day long and also the big question is what this
going to do for the relationship between the u.s. and russia? if there is to be one at all, and they do cooperate on some important issues, we've mentioned syria and iran, for example, and as this has been going on, i mean the u.s. and russia have sort of compartmentalized those issues of cooperation, kept going on those as much as possible, even while the u.s. and europe continue to sanction russia, so i guess the question to put it in common terms is what do you do now? what could put pressure on russia since even if this was as the u.s. believes the work of separatists, for months the u.s. has believed that those separatists are under significant control of russia, so either way it looks like the onus and the responsibility is at least in large part on the russian government, jake. >> let's go to jim for one second. jim, you heard michelle mentioned and our own elise at the state department reported
earlier that riebt -- right now and obviously we know a lot of early information is not always accurate that u.s. government does the not know of anybody traveling on that plane, malaysia airlines flight 17 who was using a u.s. passport. that does not preclude the possibility of dual citizenship and somebody using a different passport but also being an american citizen, but how much does it change the equation in terms of american-russian geo politics if there actually were not any americans on board or does it not change the equation at all? >> i think it would change it -- to have americans on board would mean that these separatists killed americans with russian support and that would be a game changer, but een without it, this is significant. the day before this happened, the president marched to the briefing room in the white house, announced new sanctions against russia because he said russia continues to support pro russian separatists, continues
to arm them in eastern ukraine. the next day, those separatists take a missile and shoot down a civilian airport over europe with 300 people on board, many europeans, asians, but the very next day this happens, and on you have today as well on the floor the u.s. ambassador of the u.n., samantha powers saying this missile system that shot down this plane, this system would almost require russian expertise to help shoot it down. that is russian involvement in a major civilian air disaster over europe, so still significant, requiring an american response even if there aren't americans on board, and america, the u.s. has been taking the lead in the response, despite a lot of european reluctance to go for more costly sanctions. that is the real challenge for president obama now. he has to act. the question is how?
will he have europe poen support? i thought it interesting that the german chancellor blamed russia for this attack. she says russia has responsibility. germany has been reluctant to take more significant steps against russia because of deep, deep economic and business ties between russia and germany. there were nine germans i believe, if i have my numbers right on this plane, nine germans killed, so says the german chancellor with russian support. what does germany do? do they now join the u.s.? this is a major question, it's hard to see how the u.s. and the west not react definitely actively to this crash. >> even if no americans were on board, we still do not know that for certain, a lot of individual citizens from allies of the united states, samantha powers, the united nations ambassador saying today that the loss of life in the netherlands in terms of the proportion of population is basically comparable to the
loss of life that this country experienced on 9/11. there is, of course, another major crisis going on in the world, actually several other major crises going on in the world. let's go to wolf blitzer who is live in jerusalem to give us the latest on what is going on with the israel defense force ground offensi offensive. what is the latest? >> the latest is the expanding, the israeli military not only going aafter those tunnels that hamas has built. they are going to destroy those tunnels. they say they have not been able to do that by air power alone. that's why they have sent ground forces. they are going after storage facilities and places where hamas stores its missiles, equipment, a lot of that can't be destroyed by air power. that's why they are on the ground. the prime minister, benjamin netanyahu, say this is going to
expand. thousands are on the ground in gaza. reservists are on call right now. they have been activated. this is a very significant operation, and clearly the israelis would like to destroy as much of hamas's military capability as much as they can before international pressure mounts to call for some sort of cease fire and for the israelis to withdraw. they want to really set back hamas. they think they have an opportunity to do so and that's what they are trying to do. >> do we have any information about casualties from this latest ground offensive by the israel defense forces? either casualties in gaza of palestinians or of israeli soldiers? >> one israeli soldier has now been confirmed killed in this operation. the palestinians casualties continue. i think it's well over 250, so far. a big percentage of that, maybe the majority of those civilians
who are caught in this battle because so much of dwas is small, heavily populated and israelis acknowledge they can't avoid those casualties sphr to time to time, given where hamas has stored this military infrastructure. there's no doubt as this operation continues, given the nature of the battlefield, if you will, it's going to escalate. there are going to be a lot more dead people in gaza. i don't think there's any doubt about that. >> let's go back to washington now, bringing in jim acosta live from the briefing room at the white house. jim is standing by. we're waiting for president obama to come out. he was originally supposed to come out at 11:30 eastern. now we're told it's noon. he's expected to be speaking about the crisis in ukraine, specifically about the shooting down of malaysia airlines flight 17 which the u.s. government believes was in all likelihood done by pro russian separatists
in ukraine. jim, what's the latest? >> that's right, jacob. i guess the latest might be sooner than noon. we got some initial guidance this was being pushed back by 30 minutes. we're told this could be happening momentarily. one thing we want to point out we didn't hear much from the president about this. the reason why the president did not say a whole lot about this tragedy yesterday is because he wanted to make absolutely sure, the white house wanted to make absolutely sure that they had all the facts in hand before sending the president back out again. as you laid out, jake, they do have more information about what caused this disaster but at the same time they are not exactly sure as to whether or not there were americans on board. they are still working through that information. we may not hear the president talk about that here in a few moments, but i think what we will hear is the president talk about the assets that are being contributed to this investigation, ntsb and fbi officials that are being sent to ukraine and they eventually go to the crash site and in
addition to that as you saw in that very strong statement from white house press secretary last night, josh earnest putting out that statement saying while they don't have all the facts that this crash occurred in the context of russia's involvement in ukraine and so that was an early indication that the united states is starting to put the blame on russia, on those separatists in ukraine for what happened. the other thing we're very concerned about here at the white house, they are very concerned about the integrity of the crash site. they don't want any wreckage or evidence removed and we'll hear the president talk about that as well. >> let's go to richard quest in new york. richard, as our aviation expert, i'm wondering what exactly would investigators be looking for in this crash site other than the black box, other than missile fragments? what are they looking for to ascertain what exactly happened and who was responsible? >> they are looking for any
fragments of fuselage, any part of metal, part of the plane, any metal that you can forensically examine that will show which way it was ripped, where the tears are, what holes there were, which direction they were. we know from lockerbie and from twa, we know from all these other incidents where planes have been brought out of the sky by explosives of some sort of another, they can tell, they are looking for residues, all sorts of things that can only be done in the most extreme circumstances of forensic laboratory. that's why getting there, seeing what there is, taking it away is so crucial. i can just tell you, jake, the french authorities, the bea, which is their equivalent of the ntsb has now said they are willing to be part of an international investigative team
so what i'm guessing is that some form of team will coalesce, it will have the ntsb, bea, they will be the ones that say okay we will go in and lead the investigation if you wish us to. >> as a u.s. official told us yesterday there's an effort to internationalize this crash site today and put pressure on the pro russian separatists. let's sneak in a quick break while we wait for president obama to deliver remarks about the crash, the shooting down of the malaysia airline 17. we'll be right back. repare yourr for any road trip by taking it to an expert ford technician. because no matter your destination good maintenance helps you save at the pump. get our multi-point inspection with a synthetic blend oil change, tire rotation, brake inspection and more for $29.95 or less. get a complete vehicle checkup
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we're covering all the angles. michelle, let's start with you. president obama is expected to offer condolences, he's expected to offer assistance. what else are we expecting him to say today? do we expect him to be putting any pressure on vladimir putin? >> yeah, i mean, i think only veshl verbally. i don't think there's going to be any action taken in terms of sanctions. that always takes time and coordination especially with europe. the statement put out by the white house last night was pretty strong. just when you see the kind of verbiage that the white house is using over and over again, that they are calling for a full, credible, unimpeded, transparent, prompt, international investigation. they have used all of those words, sometimes all of them at the same time over and over again. they want to make sure that u.s. investigators, international investigators, can get there, that they have safe and unimpeded access as they have put it and they are able to
participate in the investigation before anybody can move anything. now, of course, there are already some indications based on what the ukrainians have said that stuff has been moved away from that crash site, that a possible surface-to-air missile launcher has been moved away. this is all coming from the ukrainians, unconfirm by u.s. intelligence. but those are the real concerns there that anybody i will ever get to the bottom of it at this point. and i think what's really interesting is that when you look at the way things have been going over the last few months, and the information that has come out, according to u.s. officials here, and not all that has made headlines because with so many going on domestically, developments in ukraine have almost seemed like it's the same thing day after day, to some extent, but there was this background briefing one month ago that we listened to, again, it's not as if it made breaking news headlines but we found it to be absolutely fascinating because these u.s. officials were talking about what they had confirmed in terms of the volume
and type of russian material moving across the border into ukraine. i'm just looking at some of the notes. this is a month ago and we're saying we're confident that russia last week sent tanks and rocket launchers, 24 hours ago, shipment of tanks and heavy artillery. what they are saying what they have been able to confirm is that these are things that the ukrainians still use. the u.s. confirms it was moved into ukraine from russia but it's stuff that the russians don't use anymore. so the u.s. is thinking that russians deliberately moved this type of equipment over there to make it seem, if it was ever caught or when we see the separatists using it to make it seem that came from the ukrainians and not from the russians. >> jim, one of the interesting things that points a finger in the views of american officials as well as ukrainian officials is the fact this is not the
first plane to have been shot down even just in the last week or so. not just by pro russian separatists in eastern ukraine, but u.s. officials believe it's even likely that russia itself shot down the ukrainian cargo plane earlier this week. >> or at least that missile came from the russian side of the border. but i've got some new information that came from unit ukraine officials, this is another recorded conversation of pro russian separatists in ukraine bracking how they got this buk missile system, how they took it into the country from russia. there was a recorded conversation. remember, there was a recorded conversation that came out yesterday of these pro russian militants as they shot down this passenger plane. this is a new recording which appears to be describing how they captured the missile system
in crimea. we're translating it now because it's in russian. you have them bragging them about where do they load this beauty and they are saying specifically they have a buk, missile system, from the ukrainian side and to be clear, this is coming from the ukrainian secret service, intelligence service, more evidence of their point of view of at least some russian involvement, not necessarily that the russians handed them this, but russia would have to be involved if the system was transported through russia into eastern ukraine so more alarming evidence here. >> the information war part of this conflict as well. we're going to squeeze in another quick break and we'll be right back with comments from president obama and continuing crisis of the crisis in ukraine and of course the shooting down of malaysian flight 17. stay with us.
welcome back to cnn's continuing coverage of the crisis in ukraine and the shooting down of malaysian airlines flight 17. we're expecting president obama in the briefing room at the white house. he'll speak at any moment. john berman and richard quest are both in new york. >> there's been so many developments on this story all morning. so many countries involved. it is truly an international event. several hours ago, there was a news conference in malaysia. malaysian officials and officials from malaysian airlines were being asked questions, many questions, persistent questions from
reporters about this why plane, mh flight 17, was even flying over this conflict zone in east ukraine. >> it is a very question. why should an airline fly over this zone when there's been a dispute? >> at all. >> right. because it's allowed to. most airlines are still flying. some have not. some have chosen to avoid ukraine completely. many others are still flying over crimea. i've got two diagrams in front of me here. i won't mention the airlines at the moment. but there is a flight that goes directly over crimea. there's another flight that goes directly over crimea. they filed a flight plan. it's accepted by euro control. they do the flight. and the reason, john, is because it's a hodgepodge mess. some routes have opened above a level. others are closed. it's an unholy mess of who runs which part. >> it's so interesting, though,
richard, as you see on the screen right there, the podium, the press briefing room at the white house, president due to speak any minute. a short time ago, we heard from the russian ambassador to the united nations. in front of the, you know, entire gathering of the united nations, he was talking about the fact it was odd that flight was flying above anyway while this conflict was going on. so this will certainly be an issue as this story moves forward. i do want to go back to jake tapper right now in washington. we did just get the two-minute warning we're expecting to hear from the president shortly. >> that's right, president obama is expecting in the briefing room at the white house in the next couple minutes. we'll bring that to you live. president obama obviously finding himself in a very difficult place right now. because he wants to put pressure on putin but how much pressure can one put on vladimir putin, at least effectively? this seems to be the big challenge, how far to go when it comes to pressuring russia. >> that's right, jake, you'll recall, leading up to wednesday, when the president announced
those sanctions, those new sanctions against russia, one the questions that was being asked is when is the white house, when is the united states, along with the europeans, going to impose more costs on russia? obviously, senior administration officials were watching this flow of arms and weapons and, in some cases, fighters across russian ukrainian border, and that was further deescalating the situation. you know, during that conference call senior administration official also had with reporters about those sanctions, they talked about surface to air missiles being sold by some of the companies in that round of sanctions. so this was a big concern for this white house. i think one of the things we want to listen ton when the president companies out here, jake, is exactly how much evidence the white house has. does the white house, does the oama administration, have evidence that russia delivered some of these missile systems to ukraine, to those pro separatists in ukraine that might have been used in this, in the shooting down of that flight? here comes the president now.
>> good morning, everybody. yesterday, malaysian airline, flight mh-17 took off from amsterdam and was shot down. over ukraine, near the russian border. nearly 300 innocent lives were taken. men, women, children. infants who had nothing to do with the crisis in ukraine. their deaths are a outrage of unspeakable proportions. we know at least one american citizen, quinn lucas shontsman, was killed. our thoughts and prays are with his family for this terrible loss. yesterday, i spoke with the leaders of ukraine, malaysia and the netherlands. i told them that our thoughts and prayers are with all the families and that the american people stand with them during this difficult time. later today, i'll be speaking
with prime minister abbott of australia, which also suffered a terrible loss. by far, the country that lost the most people on the plane was the netherlands. from the days our founding, the dutch have been close friends and stalwart ally, of the united states of america and do i want the dutch people to know that we stand with you shoulder to shoulder in our grief and in our absolute determination to get to the bottom of what happened. now, here's what we know so far. evidence indicates that the plane was shot down by a surface to air missile that was launched from an area that is controlled by russian-backed separatists inside of ukraine. we also know that this is not the first time a plane has been shot down in eastern ukraine. over the last several weeks, russianbacked separatists have shot down a ukrainian transport plane and a ukrainian helicopter and they claimed responsibility for shooting down a ukrainian
fighter jet. moreover, we know that these separatists have received a steady flow of support from russia. this includes arms and training. it includes heavy weapons. and it includes anti-aircraft weapons. now, here's what must happen now. this was a global tragedy. an asian airliner was destroyed in europe skies filled with citizens from many countries. so there has to be a credible international investigation into what happened. the u.n. security council has endorsed this investigation, and we will hold all its members, including russia, to their work, in order to facilitate that investigation. russia, pro-russian separatists and ukraine must adhere to an me immediate cease-fire. evidence must not be tampered with. investigators need the access to
the crash site and the solemn task of returning those lost on board the plane to their loved ones needs to go forward immediately. the united states stands ready to provide any assistance necessary. we already offered the support of the fbi and the national transportation safety board, which has experience in working with international partners on these types of investigations. they are on their way, personnel from the fbi and the national transportation safety board. in the coming hours and days, i'll continue to be in close contact with leaders from around the world as we respond to this catastrophe. our immediate focus will be on recovering those who have been lost, investigating what happened and the facts. i want to point out, there will likely be misinformation as well. i think it's very important for folks to sift through what is factually based and what is simply speculation. no one can deny the truth that
is revealed in the awful images that we all have seen. and the eyes of the world are on eastern ukraine, and we are going to make sure that the truth is out. more broadly, i think it's important for us to recognize that this outrageous event underscored that it is time for peace and security to be restored in ukraine. for months, we've supported a pathway to peace. and the ukrainian government has reached out to all ukrainians, put forward a peace plan and lived up to a cease-fire, despite repeated violations by the separatists. violations that took the lives of ukrainian soldiers and personnel. moreover, time and again, russia has refused to take the concrete steps necessary to deescalate the situation. i spoke to president putin yesterday in the wake of additional sanctions that we imposed. he said he wasn't happy with them. i told him that we have been
very clear from the outset, that we want russia to take the path that would result in peace in ukraine, but so far, at least, russia has failed to take that path. instead, it has continued to violate the ukrainian sovereignty and to support violent separatists. it has already failed to use its influence to press the separatists to abide by a cease-fire. that's why, together with our allies, we've imposed growing costs on russia. so now's, i think, a somber, an appropriate time, for all of us to step back and take a hard look at what has happened. violence and conflict inevitably lead to unforeseen consequences. russia, the separatists and ukraine all have the capacity to put an end to the fighting. meanwhile, the united states is going to continue to lead efforts within the world community to deescalate the situation, to stand up for the
sovereignty and territorial integrity of ukraine, and to support the people of ukraine as they courageously work to strengthen their democracy and make their own decisions about how they should move forward. before i take just a couple of questions, let me remark on one other issue. this morning, i spoke with prime minister netanyahu of israel about the situation in gaza. we discussed israel's military operation in gaza, including its efforts to stop the threat of terrorist infiltration through tunnels into israel. i reaffirmed my strong support for israel's right to defend itself. no mation should accept rockets being fired into its borders or terrorists tunnels into its territory. in fact, while i was having the conversation with prime minister netanyahu, sirens went off in tel aviv. i also made clear that the united states and our friends and allies are deeply concerned about the risks of further escalation and the loss of more
innocent life. and that's why we've indicated although we support military efforts by the israelis to make sure that rockets are not being fired into their territory, we also have said that our understanding, is the current military ground operations are designed to deal with the tunnels, and we are hopeful that israel will continue to approach this process in a way that minimizes civilian casualties and that all of us are working hard to return to the cease-fire that was reached in november of 2012. secretary kerry is working to support egypt's initiative to pursue that outcome. i told prime minister netanyahu that john is prepared to travel to the region following additional consultations. let me close by making one additional comment. on board malaysian airline, flight mh-17 there were